Edge roadmap reveals user requests — and work undone

Among other tweaks, Microsoft intends to roll out two syncing features — including one that links up browser add-ons between copies of Edge on multiple devices. User comments, however, reflect frustration at features that have not yet appeared.

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Microsoft

Microsoft's latest roadmap for the Edge browser spells out when developers will tackle some of its many not-yet-coded features, but most remain in the planning or even in-discussion phases, leaving users uncertain when functionality would be implemented.

Typically, Microsoft refreshes a "Feedback Summary" for Edge once a week, when it lists what impending features have met the "Planning" milestone and when — as in which month — each will supposedly make it into the browser.

Microsoft solicits feedback from participants in the Microsoft Edge Insider preview program, which, like its Windows equivalent, asks users to test early versions.

At the top of Edge's roadmap are a pair of sync issues, both set as "Planned for February." One is dedicated to cleaning up existent problems, including duplicate bookmarks (still called "Favorites" in Edge, a term long used by Microsoft for its antique Internet Explorer); the other will enable synchronization of browser add-ons between copies of Edge on multiple devices.

Chrome has long offered sync for add-ons, also called "extensions."

Another sync feature available in Chrome — syncing the user's browser history — is also listed in the Edge roadmap, but that item comes with the timetable of "Planned for summer."

Although Edge is based on Chromium, the same Google-dominated project that produces the core code for Chrome, the two browsers, not surprisingly, rely on different sets of services. Microsoft did not want, for example, to depend on Google's own synchronization service for Edge (as if that was even available to the Redmond, Wash. company) but instead needed to craft the links between its browser and its own sync service.

Other bits and pieces that may make it into Edge range from porting it to Linux to supporting Chrome's browser themes. None have been slotted into a timetable, though.

Customers also used the roadmap posting to gripe about Edge's development. "This is a joke. Browsing history syncing delayed again until summer," panned cazafurcias42. Probably the most important feature gets delayed several months again. I'm done with this. Switching to Firefox."

"Warn on Close (ask users if they want to close all tabs when they close a browser window) has been 'Under Discussion' for 21 weeks now, which is one of the most ridiculous things ever," lamented krameshk. "All we want is an option to turn it on, and it's a simple flippin' warning dialog box! Just what exactly is there to discuss for months about this simple feature that many of us consider to be crucial (and really ought to have been present from the very beginning)?"

That feature — in the roadmap, it was described as "Ask users if they want to close all tabs when they close a browser window" — has been "In Discussion" for several months. A brisk online back-and-forth about the feature remains ongoing, with little sign of resolution. (To be fair, Microsoft would have to start from scratch on this, as Chromium/Chrome does not provide this functionality either.)

There were also numerous requests that Microsoft bring some of the old, legacy Edge — the one the company launched in 2015, the one that ran only on Windows 10, the one that only a small fraction of that audience used regularly — to the new, Chromium-based Edge. "Make tabs more square and less rounded, like the current version of Microsoft Edge," for instance, has been on the In Discussion list for 25 weeks. "So, has "Bring the tab preview feature from the current version of Microsoft Edge."

To keep tabs on the Edge roadmap, users should bookmark this site.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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